Raising awareness of breast cancer is a continual fight, and Dr Shirley Hanoman-Jhagroo does not plan to back down.
The medical coordinator of the Barbados Cancer Society’s Breast Screening Programme voiced that women looking to get tested have been further disadvantaged by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). The island’s sole public hospital does not offer mammogram services and most recently biopsies have been added to this list.
“The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is no longer offering mammogram services and recently we have had a problem with them doing biopsies….
“I think [it] is very disheartening because if a woman or whoever there is a suspicion that the lesion there is cancerous, are you going to wait months before the biopsy? No. This is not what this programme is about, so we are going to fight this,” Dr Hanoman-Jhagroo remarked during the opening ceremony of the 2022 CIBC Walk for the Cure at Warrens, St Michael.
She noted that a biopsy was not a cheap procedure and lower-income individuals could be wronged by the healthcare system.
While speaking to the thousands gathered in the CIBC FirstCaribbean car park, shared that the Breast Screening Clinic saw an average of two to three new cases weekly. Thanks to early detection – between stages zero and two – their survival increased between 95 to 98 per cent.
However, positive cases have steadily increased over the past three years, Dr Hanoman-Jhagroo reported.
“Positive cases in breast screening have increased from 23 in 2018 to 57 in 2020, and 69 so far in 2021. All of these cases were females between the ages of 31 to 86,” she said.
The medical coordinator of the Breast Screening Programme reminded those gathered that “breast cancer can affect anyone at any age” she mentioned that an 18-year-old also tested positive. While sharing that there have been no reported cases in men between 2018 to 2021, she cautioned that vigilance must be enforced, because anyone was susceptible.